OOTS: A Host of Golden Dandelions

The roadsides around here are notable for their masses of wild flowers at the moment. Here's the A350 near home with its host of golden dandelions. The roundabouts nearby have lots of tiny white daisies and elsewhere there are banks of primroses on the way to the allotment and cowslips on the way home just after turning into our estate.

I've also ventured further afield lately and have enjoyed the wonderful blackthorn lining the M5 motorway and sheets of cowslips on the A417 on the way there through Gloucestershire. Later on there'll be ox-eye daisies to enjoy and much later the motorway will have lots of red apples on display, presumably resulting from the many cores discarded by drivers.

It's funny how something so hated in our gardens such as the dandelion can look so wonderful like it does on the pictured verge. I suspect this is nature's own planting, but some of the others such as the cowslips and ox-eye daisies were planted by the Highways Agency as part of their environmental design. Whether they're there by accident or design, it makes for a much more pleasant journey when I see them.

This is for this month's Out on the Streets (OOTS). What in the way of public planting do you have in your neighbourhood at the moment? Details of how you can take part are here.


  1. I love dandelions - from a safe distance. Unfortunately our allotment site currently looks pretty much like your picture. Doesn't seem much point in pulling the heads off the ones on our plot when there so many hundreds of others on neighbouring plots. I am trying to enjoy the sunshine-yellow instead...

  2. in my neck of the woods (France, near Geneva), many of the towns used to compete to see which could be the most florally decorated. Eyeball-searing reds, blues, violets and yellows were pretty, but not at all natural.

    I've noticed that recently they've taken to planting mixtures of native flowers instead, and the result is just superb. I hope the trend continues!

  3. Hi,

    I noticed similar scenes around here yesterday, driving along and there was just a sea of yellow dandelions. Normally nearby there are wildflower planting strips along the side of the road, with plants such as cosmos and poppies. I'll have to get photos over the coming months of it.

    Meanwhile the dandelions are flowering in my garden, must pull them up before they clock. It will be a bumper year for them I think, thanks to lovely neighbours not mowing them until AFTER they went to clock, our back garden was a sea of clocks floating around. Pretty, but not at all happy.

  4. The dandelions on the road verges have been amazing this week - a real carpet of yellow. Sadly they are also starting to cover my garden :(

    This means if this year is a good year for dandelions next year is going to be even better (groan)

  5. I love dandelions - actually my geese love them, and with the verges abundant at the moment I can take armfulls home, where they are gratefully gobbled. I didn't realise that there were so many varieties, and special salad ones for our own eating - all edible apart from the whispy seed head, and lots of different ways of cooking. I'm growing them in a container on my patch for geese and me!

  6. Lovely as that photograph is, I can't help but itch looking at all those Dandies, working to send their seed off to annoy gardeners in the land......

  7. Last year I looked out at a lawn that looked very similar to your picture and wondered what I could use them for. The answer is lots of things! I mostly use the flowers for tea, which I love.

    I've now reclassified dandelions from 'weed' to 'crop' and have a much happier reaction when I see them coming up in my garden!

  8. I don't think I've ever seen so many dandelions as on the verges for the past week or so. They do look splendid, glowing golden beneath blue April skies in the spring sunshine. I was amazed the other day as I drove along an A-road near us that always has beautiful blocks of daffodils in the verge at either end of one particular village as you pass along, to find that the dandelions along the whole stretch of road looked even more stunning than those daffodils had in their prime. Sadly our non-gardening neighbour's back garden is also a sea of yellow dandelions ... and they keep popping up all over ours faster than I can dig them out or snap their heads off temporarily!

  9. Dear VP,
    I think people who study dandelions are called taraxacologists. There are more taraxacologists out there than you might think, but this is not surprising when you consider some think there maybe as many as 1800-2000 sub-species of this humble roadside plant!

  10. I noticed te dandelions this weekend too. Fabulous I thought for so humble a flower

  11. I'm sitting here looking out of the window at a similar sight! I let them grow on my plot grass paths but make sure that I dead head them before they seed. Flighty xx

  12. Love to see fields of dandelions - provided they are not next to my plot. Saying that, anything that feeds the bees is a good thing in my book.
    I sprinkled oxeye daisies on a patch up the plot for the insects last year - they looked fab!

  13. Dandelions - The scourge of my garden - Its when I see a picture like the one in this post, I realise (Again) that my personal fatwa against the dandelion (And its co-fatwee - bindweed)is ultimately doomed and I may as well stop pulling them out of the lawn.

  14. Very pretty! I love when there are wildflowers growing along the sides of the roads.

  15. Completely agree about how many fab things there are to see as u drive about at the moment - its almost dangerous.
    Wonder if anyone has done risk assessment on visual distraction of roadside plantings? Silly! Its probably on my rates. Seriously, there is of course a downside, like having wild flower sward in your garden - don't have it near your borders! But that's life - there is always a worm in the apple!

  16. Janet - I still pull the heads off mine though

    Tony - that's sounds fantastic and a possible example to show us in Out on the Streets if you're interested in joining in?

    Liz - that would be wonderful, thanks :)

    Karen - I remember thinking last year was good for them, but you're right this year's even better, so next year...?

    Jennifer - my niece's guinea pigs love them too. I'm sure she'll betaking a bagful home when she visits at the end of the month

    Petra - I'm in the direct firing line of that little lot - in previous years it's almost looked like its snowing!

    Rachel - I often joke that the best crop on my plot is the weeds. I'm going to explore that concept further this year, so expect some posts on the subject from me!

    hillwards - my 'next door neighbour' on one side is public land - with lots of daffodils

    TFG - 1500-2000 - crumbs! I remember seeing a dark leaved dandelion on sale at Malvern Spring Show last year

    Mark - I love seeing them like that and then groan when I see them in my lawn

    Flighty - I'm off to the plot soon to do that very thing!

    Chris - I'm growing a wildflower mix for bees on my plot this year :)

    Andy - welcome! If you do that I believe you've made what's called a jewel lawn ;)

    Mom Taxi Julie - welcome!

    Robert - I think Plant Mad Nige did a post on that very subject a couple of years ago. One of the guys I work with out in Mallorca is completely dangerous to be with when he's driving. He's an expert botanist and ornithologist, so he's either trying to identify every roadside plant or whipping out his binoculars to identify any distant bird he espies!

  17. I'll do that! Has OOTS gone international yet, or will this be a first? :-)

  18. You have simply got to admire their tenacity. Amazing how the speed from when you see the odd one or two dotted about to when they really take off.

  19. Tony - OOTS has always been international as it was requested by several readers who wanted to take part in my public planting posts in some way. I'm looking forward to your contribution as I haven't had that many from within Europe, apart from when I or Anna have ventured abroad!

    Anna - and you know what happens next... ;)

  20. I've been reading a bit about Geurilla gardening recently. It's so amazing to see roadsides and built up areas surrounded by colourful flowers, whether it be because they are there naturally or because a geurilla gardener has been using seed bombs or other tools of the trade.

  21. Gardening Gemma - welcome! No guerrilla gardening was needed with these, they got there under their own steam. However, I will be guerrilla gardening some of the foxglove seedlings from my gravel path. The woodland nearby looks like it needs some...


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